How to target keywords with blog posts

You’ve probably heard a lot about the importance of targeting keywords with your blog posts.

But why should you do it? And how Exactly target keywords?

You will learn how in this post.

Why target keywords?

If your content ranks high on Google, you can get traffic consistently over time.

For example, we published this post on Google Advanced Search Operators in 2018. To this day, we’re still getting tons of organic traffic:

The line chart shows our post on Google's advanced search operators getting tons of organic traffic

But you can’t just run a random post and expect search traffic to come to you. To get consistent organic traffic, you need to write about the topics people are looking for.

This is why you should be targeting keywords with your blog posts.

How to target keywords with blog posts

Now you know why it’s important to target keywords. But how Exactly “target” them?

That’s how.

1. Find keyword ideas

The process begins by finding out which keywords you want to target. We’re not just looking for random keywords, we’re looking for relevant keywords that people are looking for.

The easiest way to do this is to use a keyword tool. Keyword tools are databases of words and phrases with their SEO metrics. They show you a list of ideas based on the idea for the seed keyword you entered.

You can use any keyword research tool. Many of them are free. However, most free keyword tools are somewhat limited – they may have a small database, few or no filters, lack of SEO metrics, and more.

This can make good decisions difficult.

So we recommend that you use a “professional” keyword tool like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Here’s how to use the tool to find keyword ideas:

  1. Enter one (or a few) relevant seed keywords, for example, try to enter keywords like “coffee”, “milk”, “French press” etc., if you have a coffee blog
  2. Go to Corresponding terms report
  3. Switch to the tab Requests
Report results on matching terms, via Ahrefs' Keyword Explorer

You will see that there are over 300,000 potential keywords you could be targeting. There are too many and most of them are probably too competitive. If you’re just starting out, it’s best to target keywords that are:

  • Up Traffic potential (TP) – TP is the estimated amount of search traffic you can potentially earn if you rank first for that topic. We calculate this by estimating the amount of search traffic that page # currently receives.
  • Low inside Keyword Difficulty (KD) – KD is how difficult it is to rank for the keyword in the top 10 organic search results.

Use the available filters to narrow the list:

Report on matching terms with applied filters, via Ahrefs' keyword explorer

From here, you can browse the list and choose keywords relevant to your site.

Results generated by the match terms report, via Ahrefs' keyword explorer

Recommended reading: Keyword Research: Ahrefs Beginner’s Guide

2. Identify the search intent

Google’s goal is to rank the most relevant content for any query. As such, try to understand Why a researcher is Google searching for that keyword so that they can deliver the most relevant results.

This means that, in order to rank high on Google, we need to identify and match search intent. Fortunately, we can do this by looking at the current top ranking pages for your target query. Specifically, we want to identify the three Cs of the search intent:

  • Type of content – The dominant type of content on the SERPs, in this case blog posts.
  • Content format – The dominant content format, such as guides, lists, reviews and more.
  • Content corner – The dominant angle. Examples include current year, for beginners, simple and easy, and more.

For example, let’s take a look at the top ranking pages for the keyword “how to clean the coffee pot”:

SERP overview for "how to clean the coffee maker"
  • Type of content – They are all blog posts.
  • Content format – Most of them are practical guides.
  • Content corner – Some of them seem to have mentioned “with vinegar”. It could be a potential corner you may want to try.

If you’re targeting this keyword, for example, chances are you’ll need to create a practical guide on cleaning a coffee pot (perhaps with vinegar!).

Recommended reading: What is search intent? A complete guide for beginners

3. Create the content

Keyword targeting with blog posts is no longer about filling as many keywords as possible. This is an ancient tactic that no longer works. If you want to rank high on Google, you need to show Google that your content is relevant and deserves to be on the front page.

By matching the search intent, you have already overcome the first hurdle. But how else can you show Google that your content deserves to be featured?

That’s how:

A. Cover important subtopics

If there are subtopics that cover almost every page at the top of the rankings, then it’s a sign that searchers are looking for them.

Here’s how to find these subtopics:

  1. Paste some high-level URLs for your main topic into Ahrefs’ Content Gap tool
  2. Leave the bottom section blank
  3. Blow Show keywords
  4. Set the Intersection filter on 3 And 4 goals
Results of the Content Gap report

We can see that the pages at the top of the ranking deal with topics like these:

  • What is earned mean
  • Earned multimedia examples
  • Examples of proprietary media
  • Examples of paid media
  • Paid media vs earned media
  • Media owned vs media earned

And more.

If we are dealing with this topic (“earned media”), it is likely that we will have to cover these subtopics as well. Even better: you can use them as H2 potentials to organize your content.

B. Invest in a good reading experience

You should make sure your content is easy to read. After all, the purpose of your blog post is not just to rank, but also to get the reader to consume your content.

Follow these tips to create an effortless reading experience:

  • Use descriptive subtitles (H2 – H6) for the hierarchy
  • Use bullets to help with the creaming
  • Use images and GIFs (where necessary) to break up the text
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs to avoid “text walls”
  • Use simple words that everyone can understand
  • Write while you speak to make things conversational
  • Read your copy aloud (while editing) to make the flow smoother

C. Don’t forget your on-page SEO

Your on-page SEO is the icing on the cake that helps make it doubly clear to Google and searchers that your page is relevant.

Here are the basics:

  • Use the keyword in the title (if possible) – Google confirmed the importance of headers in 2020. If it’s hard, don’t overdo the keyword, use a similar variation instead.
  • Use short, descriptive URLs – A descriptive URL, usually the keyword, helps searchers understand what a page is about before clicking.
  • Write a compelling meta description – It is not a ranking factor, but it further helps to entice users to click on the result.
  • Use descriptive alternative text – This helps Google understand images better.
  • Link to relevant internal and external resources – Linking to relevant internal and external resources helps visitors navigate your website and find more information.

Find out more

Interested in learning more about SEO and SEO content creation? Check out these resources:

Questions or comments? Let me know on Twitter.

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